A Bengaluru magistrate court on Wednesday granted bail to Amulya Leona Noronha, the student who was arrested on February 20 and charged with sedition for shouting “Pakistan zindabad” slogans during a rally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the city, The Wire reported. Noronha secured bail nearly four months after the incident.
Hours earlier, a sessions court had rejected her bail application, saying that she might engage in similar offences and abscond if released. However, the metropolitan magistrate court granted her “default bail” as the Bengaluru police had failed to file a chargesheet in the case within the stipulated 90 days period.
Noronha’s advocate, R Prasanna, told the website that she will be released from the Bengaluru Central Prison in Parappana Agrahara on Friday. She was granted bail against a surety of Rs 1 lakh and on the condition that she would not influence witnesses in the matter.
“The default bail became a full fledged argument with the prosecution citing High Court orders and reasons why Amulya should not be out,” Prasanna said. “After a week-long process, the court, on June 10, finally, ordered for her release. We were making simultaneous efforts in the High Court and the sessions court. On May 20, soon after 90 days had ended, we decided to move for a default bail as prescribed under Section 167 (2) of the CrPC [Code of Criminal Procedure].”
The magistrate has no authority to detain an accused in custody beyond the statutory period of 60 or 90 days. Prasanna added that the mandatory bail was also extended in the student’s case. “We first filed an application on May 26 before the special court which was hearing only urgent matters during the lockdown. Three days after the application was moved, we were informed that the email id to which we had sent the application was not functional and a fresh application had to be moved. We again made another application on May 29 and then another one on June 2 before a magistrate court.”
Noronha’s lawyers argued that hailing Pakistan cannot be looked at as an act of sedition. She had shouted “Pakistan Zindabad” in the presence of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi. The Hyderabad MP, however, denounced her action and asserted, “We are for India”. Several men tried to drag her away from the dais. But before the microphone was snatched from her, she had also managed to shout “Hindustan zindabad” or “Long Live India”.